How can a company build brand recognition with product lines suited to one-time buyers?
In the home improvement space, we encounter most of our customers for one purchase in their lifetime. Although we offer multiple product lines and make customer satisfaction a top priority, getting previous customers and new customers to be a proud part of our brand is a challenge with products seen for functionality instead of flash.
Try some type of neighborhood hero program. I would guess your sales group already does it, but whenever someone gets windows you need the attention of the whole neighborhood. You could have a portable demonstration center and a keg of beer to take the message out (maybe in lakewood its a box of wine). Make a party out of it.
If you look at an aging development, you know everyone needs windows about the same time so celebrate the one. Everyone then becomes a one-time sale but at least it is more than one.
Judging from your question, right off the bat I can tell that you're not doing list-building.
When you build a list, especially a list of buyers, they will buy from you over and over again because you've built up trust with them. Your income will literally increase ten-fold when you market this way.
Brand recognition can be developed many ways in this day of business:
1) From grass roots marketing and word of mouth.
2) Traditional marketing.
3) Online/Social Media Marketing.
#1 Is simply tell everyone you know about your company, your product, have amazing testimonials from past clients, have a referral program and incentives for people to refer your product(s).
#2 Traditional marketing - Address ad mail, post cards, having workshops and open houses to bring new people in to see your product(s) in action.
#3 Online/Social Media Marketing- Build a website that is SEO friendly and is designed to capture new interested clients. Then do a social media marketing campaign that educated your past and future clients on the benefits of your product(s). Also success stories of how it has helped your clients. You can also do a paid campaign depending on your budget.
I see people are commenting on fundamental business practices
1) providing great value
2) Customer service
3) After purchase care
These shouldn't be a question of how you run your business and if there is an problem in any of these areas you need to fix them first before you start to market your company and establish your Brand.
As Josie recommended once you are ready to brand your business you can use YouTube, article marketing...etc to educate your potential clients on the benefits of your product(s). How to use it and case studies how it has helped people over come a challenge.
Best of luck Zach with your business.
I sincerely appreciate everyone's input and advice. You have collectively given me and the team here a fresh set of ideas to run with!
Brand is communicated what your business is, does and stands for - everything from your company's personality, its products and packaging to your business' values and its business practices, etc. A fully specified brand (visually and verbally - terminology, phrasing, mission, etc.) and clearly defined target customer profile(s) should lead you to the right marketing approach.
Have you asked your customers why they've used your products? What would get them to recommend your products? Are staying in touch with your customers? If so, what value are you delivering to them above and beyond the sale? What is your customers' biggest complaint about your business...?
Would your current customers of product x be interested in product y?
Perceptual differences are key to driving brand recognition and preference especially in categories where technological innovation is difficult. One company that understands this very well is Acme Brick of Ft. Worth, Texas, USA. Acme has been doing brand development work for its line of residential and commercial bricks for several decades.
In addition to traditional advertising, Acme has focused heavily on building goodwill by supporting the Aikman Foundation for Children and "The House that Juan Built" via a celebrity partnership with Texas Rangers slugger Juan Gonzalez. For the latter, Acme is donating brick to build 30 homes through Habitat for Humanity.
The results have been impressive. In a recent telephone survey of new home buyers Acme receive an 84% preference rating. No other supplier had more than 10% preference. And the bottom line is that the Acme brand is estimated to be worth an extra 10 cents for every dollar’s worth of Acme brick sold. In a typical home, this amounts to about $250 in incremental revenue to Acme.
I hope this story illustrates the crucial role that brand equity plays even in heavily commoditized categories like bricks. Anything is possible!
Hi, Zach -- Do you have a product and a structure where you could offer a "sweepstakes" or contest of sorts to satisfied customers, and then go out and snag a video of them using your product for whatever it is they use it for? This might make for an interesting asset on your website and social media ... a personal profile of the user. Prospective customers might see themselves in your videos and be influenced to make the right buying choice as a result.
Hi Zach, your business, Larmco, has different product lines that can be leveraged. If your target audience is owners of older homes, they can use several of your products at different times in their home ownership. If, for example, they buy windows from you this year, then you can offer them a discount on siding products if purchased within 12 months etc. You can also target contractors and renovators with a referral program if their customers use your products. I think you can use a combination of inbound and outbound marketing techniques to acquire customers. I also think you could use your blog more effectively, to write about issues people have with their windows, doors, siding and bathtubs and then offer solutions. You can definitely make your products more flashy by some creative marketing and advertising by connecting with your target customers so they want to buy from Larmco.
I agree with several answers given thus far Zach and think that referrals and reviews are going to be your core.
It is amazing how many businesses neglect the essential components of getting found online by the customers they are trying to connect with. Sorry for the flagrant horn blowing but our site at http://customersto.me outlines what I'm talking about.
This sounds like a company that serves a specific region. If they are not dominating local search and publishing excellent referrals and reviews to social channels within that region then I'd go so far as to say that their other efforts are a waste of money.
Since your industry is mostly a one time business its not recognition, but referrals you really want. Put together a program that rewards past customers for referring friends/family to use your services. Let's say the average job is $1500. What if the referring customer received $75 (5%) cash or credit toward another job. 10 referrals would get them to 50% of their next job of equal value. You have then solved two problems. Keeping customers and finding one's that will use you.
Building brand recognition for a one time purchase is an expensive venture; the one time event needs to be massively profitable. I would suggest that you don't need brand recognition unless you rely on your customer for multiple purchases.
There are three relationships that one needs to consider in terms of negotiating tactics and building brand loyalty.
1. One time transaction, never see them again.
2. One time transaction but will have constant contact with customer
3. Multi transactions and constant contact.
As you can quickly conclude brand quality and recognition is important for number 3 but not so important for number 1 and 2. Why? because in the 1st and 2nd instance, the decision to purchase is made one time but in the 3rd instance, they are deciding about your product repeatedly.
What is important in numbers 1 and 2 is presence. You need to be there when they buy. I would say this requires some keen targeted marketing that puts your product in front of them when they are likely to buy.
After they begin to investigate, you should provide proof of quality; years in bus, customer testimonials, quality awards etc. Unless your customers purchase is not forecastable and you can't control your presence when they want to purchase (ie. showing up in the top lines of an organic search) I wouldn't spend much time building brand recognition. You'll spend a ton of money and then be on an even playing field with those who invested in a powerful web presence or targeted marketing effort.
Its hard to offer advice without all the facts but this might provide some food for thought. Although brand recognition is a first focus for many entrepreneurs, there are many instances where its not worth much. Define what you want from brand recognition (people to call you?) and then work on that.
Without knowing more about your products, it is difficult to offer a good answer. You might think about creating a referral program so that your one-time, happy customers are incented to refer others to you. Testimonials, esp. video testimonials could be posted on your web site and on other venues to draw people to your web site and to your blog.
Great input from everyone here, particularly Josie Aberdeen. I wanted to expand a bit on item "d" in Josie's list. One element of "following up" should absolutely be to ask for a positive review of your product and/or service. Featuring these endorsements on your site (and social media channels) can help potential customers who don't know your brand feel more comfortable considering you. Further, when you receive any review, it's a great idea to respond, publicly if possible. This deepens loyalty in existing customers (making referrals more likely) and adds to the perception that you are responsive and service-oriented. Good luck!
This is a situation that many businesses run into. Often in the early stages of product or services development, I recommend to my clients that they provide some type of complimentary continuity product or service. It may be anything from a 12-month support service contract, product upgrade, periodic services, or other support that re-engages the customer on a periodic basis.
Other "out of box" ideas have included offerring a discount on their purchase for referrals or new clients, rebates, testimonial incentives, social media campaigns, etc...
While your product may be built around the concepts of functionality, your marketing plan should incorporate a bit of flash and creativity.
Best of luck!
Zach this is a great question. Thank You for asking it!
Brand recognition comes from first and foremost Being Remarkable. There are 3 key ways to be remarkable
1. Providing great value, 2) Customer satisfaction as You already do and 3) After purchase care.
It is the 3rd that makes You stand head and shoulders above others. And it is here that You now have to focus your branding efforts on. While it is always a good idea to do post-service surveys, what does that do for the customer? In the short term nothing. But being remarkable means on-going long term relationships. In such relationships:
a) You will provide instructions - via YouTube etc.- how items should be cared for. I have noticed that if You are not a builder etc. but an ordinary home-maker there is no information at all on how tiles or wood flooring etc should be best maintained.
b) Just before the expiration/ replacement date You contact past buyers to remind them that it is getting to the time for touch ups/ maintenance et cetera. This would be an excellent opportunity to give Special One Time Customer Discounts/ Offers/ An extra 2" paintbrush that sort of thing.
c) When new products and accessories come to the market -that will truly benefit past buyers -You let them know how X,Y,Z will improve the life-span and functionality of their products saving them money in the future
d) Get testimonials from Your happy customers
e) Partner with businesses and social / community organizations - who share your business' principles, ethics and values
d) Sponsor a cause You believe it.
e) If there is an equivalent of the BBB or ISO in your industry -get those designations and display them everywhere
f) Host do it yourself projects and get them shown on your local TV channels.
Hope these help!
Wishing You Well
Peace + Much Love
Since you're business is primarily a one-time buyer only, I would say that a referral program would be the best way to go. If your customers are satisfied with your products, they should have no problem spreading the word via word of mouth...if they're getting something in return. What you can offer for a referral fee is up to you, but it could be a cash payout, gift cards, or even a percentage off another purchase from you. That could also help get multiple purchases from the same client if they know they're getting a percentage off.
My business and your business alike, referral business I probably the biggest driving factor of the business. Awesome referrals make the business. Knowing this, each time you pursue a job, from beginning to end the process must be as seemless and flawless as possible. If the product is good it will be passed along by word of mouth and that is how the brand recognition will grow!
If the customer comes to you only once in their lifetime, then I guess the best way to do it is divide the product and make it a line of product (if possible). That way the customer can come to you again and will remember you for the next time.
Make the Interaction with customer so powerful so that they themselves promote you (There is no better publicity than the word of mouth). The 7p's of Marketing has People in there, so make sure to have right people to deal with customers who will make it a best experience for your customers. However, if you cant divide the product in parts this becomes kind of useless
If your product has something to do with designing than, try to participate in Industry promotion events and work real hard to launch the concepts. This gives you a quick start.
Plus ofcourse the social Media is always an option to stay in touch. The right feeds and customers will never spam you.
If you can mention more details, I can surely give more input.
For any brand to maintain brand awareness, I think that consistent interaction with the target audience through either social media or email will suffice. While I'm not so much an expert in marketing, my experience has lead me to believe that these digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter have allowed brands to have a more personal outreach to their audiences. Even other platforms like Instagram and Pintrest have been taken advantage of for this exact purpose. In addition to that, blogging has been a great way for brands to help educate and stimulate future brand-to-consumer interaction.
Keep your audience engaged with you, and remind them of why your brand is good for them through consistent, brand-unique messaging.